Homemade Chalkboard (and the mistakes learned)

I’ve been thinkng about doing this for some time and I finally did it.  I took an old mirror no one wanted anymore and made it into a chalkboard.  It had such a pretty frame and the surface area is large enough to write in large letters. That’s for us old folks with bad eyes!


I read a blog from Kelleysdiy on how to make your own chalkboard paint, which was just the inspiration I needed to get this project going.  Thanks Kelley!  However, I was not so confident on my chalkboard making skills so I cheated and bought a can of it instead and she’s right, it can be pricey.  I found some made by Rustoleum that is tintable.  I thought I was having this tinted a dark shade of blue, more along the lines of navy and it turned out to be quite bright.  That was my first sign.  It was really bright but I decided there’s no going back so I’ll just make it work.

So it turns out that the prep work for turning a mirror into a chalkboard should be followed carefully.  I don’t follow directions very well and kinda did my own thing.  Most times that works out for me but this time it didn’t.  In my head I think I’m an expert at DIY and crafting and should have my own TV show, like I could totally compete with Josh Someone from House Crashers or Nicole Whatshername from Rehab Addict.  Yeah, right!

Here’s what I didn’t do but should’ve done; I didn’t wash the mirror with windex or rough it up with sandpaper.  I didn’t tape the edges of the mirror or use thin coats of paint.  I did somewhat dust it with a dry cloth and just barely waved a piece of light grit sandpaper over it.  I thought that was good enough ’cause it won’t make that much of a difference, right?  And of course I used thick coats of paint, chalkboard paint is thick to begin with so it obviously should be applied that way…wrong.

I knew the first coat of paint wouldn’t be very pretty to look at.  It was streaky and there were little bumps of paint (probably from the dust that I didn’t clean off it).  I got the paint all over the edges of the mirror, also a pain to get off ( I could’ve stopped and put tape around the edges but that would’ve made sense) and I continued on.  One mistake after the other until I had six thick coats of blobby paint on this mirror and it was still streaky.  It looked like a pre-schoolers first attempt at artwork, except I didn’t have a mommy to hand it to who would tell me how fantastic is was even though it wasn’t.

My confidence took a crushing blow while the universe laughed at my pitiful attempt to be a chalkboard expert.  This thing is gonna get hung anyway and will serve as a reminder that I’m not quite ready for my own DIY show.  Do yourself a favor and do the prep work.  Wash it, dry it, sand it, tape it and use thin coats.  Obviously my ego got in my way this time but there’s no need for you to suffer my pain.  Next time I’ll safely have my ego checked someplace where it can’t cause any trouble, like a Pandora’s box or something with a huge warning label not to open.



16 thoughts on “Homemade Chalkboard (and the mistakes learned)

  1. I have never tried chalkboard paint. Not sure I want to anymore LOL. Prep work can be so tedious; but shoot….also so necessary. Probably a life lesson in there somewhere…….big sigh.
    The frame is really beautiful and it is a nice bright blue.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aimee — nothing but a broken mirror can’t be fixed. (1) strip it and start over doing it right from the beginning or (2) start from where you are and sand it absolutely flat with several progressive courses of sandpaper (nothing finer than one hundred-fifty) and put another coat (or coats) n according to instructions. Great post BTW!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love posts about lessons learned. That chalkboard paint is cool but can be a booger to use. I had our carpenter build chalkboard doors for our pantry but wanted them to be magnetic. He used the magnetic primer but the two coats of chalkboard paint were too thick. Nothing sticks to the VERY expensive magnetic primer. 😦 Even if you didn’t make a perfect chalkboard mirror, you composed a very nice post about lessons learned. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

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